From OpenGrounds to Disrupting the Eyewear Industry: Frameri

September 25, 2013

It all started less than a year ago. Caelan Urquhart and Ted Lichtenberger both wear glasses and neither has been particularly fond of the way they buy and replace them. After taking the Entrepreneurship capstone class at McIntire in their fourth year at UVA, they decided to brainstorm ways to disrupt the eyewear space and develop a new model for how we use and reuse our lenses and frames.

They quickly summoned elements of Charlottesville’s entrepreneurial processes and enrolled at HackCville, won StudCo’s JET program, and competed in McIntire’s Galant Challenge. Through that, they pushed each others’ boundaries and came up with Frameri: glasses with interchangeable lenses.

They describe their product as “one set of lenses, as many frames as you want.” And every frame has a story to tell: by having interchangeable frames, Frameri aims to challenge the way you wear glasses and affords you the chance to have multiple frames and one pair of lenses that fits each frame.

The backstory to what is now Frameri is particularly interesting. Ted and Caelan recognize that space plays a particularly important role in incubating and nurturing ideas. While working on their products, they both made use of several spaces around Charlottesville, where the interaction of different kinds of people pushed their boundaries and made them think outside the box. Two spaces they frequented wereHackCville and OpenGrounds.

At OpenGrounds, where they competed for StudCo’s JET program, they got a chance to work with mentors in a space that makes creative thinking and brainstorming easy. They made use of the white-board walls to draw concepts of the frames before taking them to the next level by having them 3D-printed elsewhere at UVA.

At HackCville, they got a chance to be a part of a community working on various startups in different groups. They were held accountable by other members through weekly updates and benchmark meetings.

After their time in Charlottesville, the McIntire duo were accepted to an incubator program in Cincinnati, OH aptly named “The Brandery,” where they merged with another team working on a similar idea and developed the brand into what it is today.

So, if you wear glasses and would like a platform to give you the freedom to switch frames without the hassle of buying new lenses, check out the Frameri Indiegogo page and pre-order your pair today.


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